Video prompts NYPD probe of teenager’s arrest
In the latest excessive-force case to arise from a videotape, two New York Police Department officers are under investigation on allegations they beat down a teenager suspected of marijuana possession after a foot chase, officials said Tuesday.
A security camera tape from Aug. 29 captured the 16-year-old slowing down on a Brooklyn sidewalk as the officers caught up to him.
The tape shows an officer, identified as Tyraine Isaac, hitting the teen with a roundhouse punch. Seconds later, as the teen backs away, raises his hands and leans against a wall, a second officer, David Afanador, appears to hit him with his pistol. The beating continues until the teen drops to the ground and is handcuffed.
The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the Brooklyn district attorney’s office confirmed Tuesday that they are investigating. Police said Afanador has been suspended and Isaac has been put on desk duty pending the outcome.
“What’s depicted on this video is troubling and warrants a thorough investigation,” Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson said in a statement.
A police union official, Patrick Lynch, called the video misleading because it doesn’t show how the teenage suspect was caught with drugs and tried to get away.
“As usual, the video fails to capture the offense that resulted in police action or the lengthy foot pursuit that culminated in the arrest,” Lynch said. “Situations like this one happen in real time under great stress. It’s very easy to be judgmental in the comfort of an office while sitting in front of a video screen.”
Prosecutors said the teen ended up pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and was released.
The case comes after an uproar over the death of an unarmed man, Eric Garner, during another videotaped arrest in July on Staten Island. The medical examiner ruled that a banned chokehold used by one of the arresting officers contributed to Garner’s death.
Garner, who was asthmatic, could be heard on the amateur video shouting, “I can’t breathe!”
A grand jury is hearing evidence to consider whether there should be criminal charges brought in Garner’s death. Union officials insist the officer used an authorized takedown move, not a chokehold.
Last week, Police Commissioner William Bratton warned that he’s taking steps to identify abusive officers and kick them off the police force, the nation’s largest.
The video of the teen’s arrest was posted online Tuesday by the website DNAinfo.
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